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New book by Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel: Failing in the Field
At IPA, we believe we can all learn a lot from what has not worked as well as from what has. We are constantly learning from our own failures and improving our methods for collecting data in the field. We believe it is important to be transparent when plans go awry, and that sharing our failures with others is a public good, improving the likelihood that others will succeed in the complicated task of conducting high quality research in challenging, and often unpredictable, settings.
In Failing in the Field, IPA President & Founder Dean Karlan and former IPA research associate Jacob Appel delve into the common causes of failure in field research so that researchers and decision-makers might avoid similar pitfalls in future work. Drawing in part on IPA’s experiences implementing research in developing countries, this book delves into failed studies and helps guide practitioners as they embark on their research.
From experimental design and implementation to analysis and partnership agreements, Karlan and Appel show that we can learn important lessons from failures at every stage. They describe five common categories of failures, review six case studies in detail, and conclude with some reflections on best (and worst) practices for designing and running field projects, with an emphasis on randomized controlled trials.
Cracking open the taboo subject of the stumbles that can take place in the implementation of research studies, Failing in the Field is a valuable “how-not-to” handbook for conducting fieldwork and running randomized controlled trials in development settings.